Bill Collector Harassment & Illegal Debt Collection Practices
Consumers who fall victim to debt or bill collector harassment or other unethical acts on the part of debt collectors may be eligible to file a lawsuit under consumer protection laws to stop the offending debt or bill collector. Various federal and state debt collection laws are designed to protect consumers from harassing, threatening or otherwise intrusive actions from debt collectors.
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Debt Collector Harassment Laws
There are three pieces of federal legislation to protect consumers from invasive debt collectors. Those are the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Together, these statutes set out when debt collectors can contact debtors, how they can contact debtors and what action they can legally take against consumers who owe money.
Among areas that are governed are the hours a debt collector can call, who the debt collector can call - calls to non-debtors, such as family members, are illegal - and activities that constitute threatening or repeated phone calls. Violations of these federal laws can result in statutory fines, which can run up to $500 to $1,000 per occurrence of a prohibited act.
Fair Debt Collections Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act sets out how the debt collector must conduct him or herself when contacting the consumer. It is illegal for the debt collector to contact the debtor at any time that is known to be inconvenient to the debtor or anytime outside the hours of 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM. It is also illegal to discuss the debtor's information with third parties without the debtor's consent. Furthermore, it is illegal to harass, oppress or abuse consumers while attempting to collect on a debt. This includes the use or threat of violence, the use of obscene or profane language, or repeatedly calling the consumer with the intent to harass him.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a consumer whose credit has been wrongfully lowered can seek to recover based on the number of points their credit was lowered. Furthermore, the consumer can also seek injunctive relief to raise his or her credit score back to the point it would have been at if not for the negligent reporting.
This can be especially important to consumers who are wrongly accused of owing money and are then reported to credit agencies based on that non-existent debt.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act makes it illegal for an organization or person - without the consent of the called party - to use an automatic telephone dialing system or artificial prerecorded voice to contact a cell phone. Giving the cell phone as the contact phone number is considered consent to having them call the cell phone. Each illegal phone call is considered a violation of this legislation can result in $500 to $1,500 fines per violation.
Types of Debt Collection Scams
There are various scams debt collectors will use to harass or intimidate consumers into paying debt - even if the consumer being targeted does not actually owe that debt. Some scams include attempting to collect on an old debt - there is a statute of limitations on when a debt can be collected on; attempting to collect from a person with the same name as the debtor but who does not actually owe the debt (often referred to as debt tagging), re-aging the debt - making the debt appear more recent than it is, negatively affecting the consumer's credit score; and threatening to file criminal charges (consumer debt is not punishable in criminal court).
Other debt collector scams can include the caller misrepresenting the amount that is owed, asking to pay interest and fees not allowed by law, fraudulently sending correspondence that looks like a legal or "official" document when in reality it is not, and falsely representing that they are attorneys or government representatives.
Debt Collector Harassment Legal Help
If you or a loved one has suffered Debt Collector Harassment damages or injuries, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a Debt Collector Harassment lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
Washington, DC: There is little doubt that illegal robocalls remain a blight on the communications horizon as Americans continue to have their rights for privacy and solitude violated by a seemingly unending parade of unwanted calls to private voice lines, fax lines and cell phones. This, in spite of recent changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requiring purveyors of such calls to obtain a consumer’s written permission to receive [READ MORE]
Buffalo, NY Recent events appear to have taken debt collector harassment to a new level, with bogus debt collectors calling and harassing seniors and other innocent consumers in the state of Florida, coercing them into making payments on debt they didn’t even owe. And in Buffalo, New York, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken down a phony debt-collection operation that also had ties to the Atlanta area [READ MORE]
I have bought a new cellphone and the phone number I have of course belonged to someone else before me.Now all day, everyday I am being harassed by Bill collectors looking for the person who had the number last. I have told them this is a new number and they keep calling both people and prerecorded voices leaving voicemails.What can I do about this?
Posted by Angela Sanchex
Everyday I'm receiving constant calls from this collection agency about an outstanding balance I havevwith them. Several months back I came to a payment agreement with them to pay them monlthy payments and I have I'm down to my last payment and sadly can not get the funds to pay it so this same collection rep calls me seven days a week several times a day and has also began contacting family members of mines alerting them of my debt on a daily basis. This is not only embrassing but nerve recking. Can someone please help me
Posted by Catherine A Davis
Four months ago I began receiving repeated calls from a gentleman who was looking for my 36 year old daughter. Each time he called I told him my daughter was not a resident in my home. He clearly did not believe me, as he kept calling. Finally, I lost patience with him, told him to stop calling me. At that time he told me his name and that he was attempting to collect on a debt for a credit card in my daughter's name. He told me the name of the creditor, the amount my daughter owes, and told me they were getting ready to take her to court for non payment. He kept calling me until I caved and made payments on the account myself, but I am retired and on a limited income and I can no longer make payments on an delinquent account that is not my own. Now this gentleman has called MY elderly mother, the latest call this morning, and released the same private information to her. Is it true that because I made some payments that I have assumed the debt?
Posted by Janice williams
I've been receiving calls from a CCSOffices.com looking for someone who has the same name as me but the company is misrepresenting themselves as a home security company. I've been asking them since April 29, 2016 to add me to their do not call list only to have them call every other day. They change the number they're calling from with just about every call. On 7/21 they called from 603-363-1012 and I called it back to discover it's a debt collection company. Somehow I think this is illegal in someway when you're trying to collect a debt and misrepresent you. I need you all to stop them before they report something on my credit report via address association.
Posted by DEBRA
I WENT TO COURT THEY DISMISSED BILL
festival continues to show on my credit report every year they also are going after my son in this matter is there anything I can do since the judge dismissed the bill that I ownthank you please get back to me
Posted by California
I have been getting letters and phone calls from GC Services Limited Partnership who claim that I owe the Superior Court of California Sacramento Supr. CT. for $638.00 on a Citation No. 2010134612. There is no citation number in the Court Database and cases I have had in the past have all been paid and the status of those are case closed, or disposed. In phone calls I have gotten from them, they threatened to garnish my wages. I also receive automated phone calls saying that I have failed to respond so they are going to pursue the collection. When I call them to let them know that I could not find a record in the Court Database, they just tell me that they'll send a letter to the court to find out what the status is. I find it very uncomfortable that they have this amount of information on locating me, yet the record they say they have is not verifiable.
Posted by Oklahoma
Bill collector leaving voicemails threatening jail and prison time with felony warrants over an old payday loan.
Posted by Virginia
I run a small family company that makes and sells paint. My daughter owned a similar company (I actually produced for her) and she went bankrupt, leaving unpaid shipping bills. A debt collector for R&L Freight lines is calling my customers saying that federal laws require them to pay the bill. I got contacted by the company and their debt collector saying they will continue to hassle my customers until they either pay, or I will pay off my daughter's company's debt. She was an LLC. I wonder if the RICO laws would apply against R&L for me.
Posted by New Jersey
I filed a Chapter 13 over 10 years ago. This company still sends me letters of harassment even though they are listed on the Chapter 13. I have all the letters and info to support this claim that they are in violation of the FDCPA. These guys have many complaints on them.
Posted by New York
I have been constanly harassed by these people. I had to put a block on my phone - home and cell - but they still continue to annoy me. Plus they call from out of the USA; I believe it’s India. I must say they are condescending and rude... Please include me in this lawsuit.
Posted by Kentucky
I have been getting calls from the same debt collector for months now. They are automated calls and at times have filled up my answering machine. None of which are meant for me. I am a single male and they are all for various different women, not meant for me at all. I have called back multiple times and wasted my time explaining this to whoever answered, but I still get these calls regularly. I saved on my answering machine 2 messages back-to-back, one for Cassandra something and one for Martha something. I'm not in debt with anyone and I'm not a woman. This is making me crazy! What can I do to stop advance recovery from harassing me?
Posted by Texas
Over the past couple of months a collection agency called New Era have been calling my aunt, my mother's home phone, as well as my phone number claiming that I am being sued by Wells Fargo and they have threatened numerous times to have papers delivered to my house. I just want the harassment to stop
Posted by Tennessee
Calls me anywhere from 3 to 6 times a day. Calls my employer daily. Told them numerous times to not call my work. I work for fire dept. Discussed my past due account with my superior at fire dept. Left voicemail stating it didn’t matter that I made a payment, the phone calls will continue. Continuous harassment. Bill will be paid off next week.
Posted by Anonymous
While I was still living in Atlanta, GA I kept getting phone calls from XYZ Co. looking for my previous housemate. No matter how many times I told this lady she didn't live there she only responded with, "Until I speak with her the phone calls will continue." So, she's not there to talk with them: they kept calling only to hear the same message from me: they would not listen to reason, etc. This was around 2003. Finally, I'd had enough of having my blood pressure raised and I called the lady who was calling my number. She not only would not cooperate with giving me her full name and mailing address, she made banging noises with the phone, gave me long silence pauses, and finally disconnected the phone rather loudly. I called and called and called with deliberate persistence until a male voice came on the other end. I told them I demanded their contact information, and the rude, impolite manner of their agent. The man on the other end gave me the info I wanted. I mailed them a written notification popularly referred to as a "Drop Dead" letter ending it with the statement that if they ever called my phone again I PROMISED them they would make me a rich lady...and ended with "Merry Christmas"! I didn't hear from them anymore.
Posted by Nevada
I am also experiencing the identical problems regarding Citibank and American Express who call multiple times a day and at night, beginning very early in the morning to as late as almost 9pm. These are pre-recorded as well. And also was harassed by Bank of America as well due to being late on mortgage payment.
Posted by Alabama
Wells Fargo threaten me with jail if I did not turn in a court document telling them ny financial standing.
Posted by California
Various debt collection calls, hangups and threatening or silent messages tying up all voice mail boxes from numerous companies calling day in and day out all day long on all 5 of my phone lines including cell phones. Family members that do not live with me and minor son that does reside with me are being harassed and threatened with legal action if they do not comply with their requests.
Posted by California
I just purchased a car the end of March 2013 and have never received a bill. Creditor contacted me by phone last week to let me know I was late and when can they expect payment. After informing them that I get paid at the end of the month, I was told I would be charged a late fee. I have received calls everyday since. I have instructed them not to call my job, and they still do. I also explained that I had let the first collector know when to expect my payment, but I'm constantly called each day, left messages stating urgent as if they have not spoken with me. This is so frustrating that I'm trying to get refinanced just to not have to do business with this company.